May 19, 2020

This pot of money is there to help the jobless. Florida can’t figure out how to tap it [McClatchy D.C.]

Kevin Hall of McClatchy writes:

"Fifty-three days after Congress passed the CARES Act, Floridian Tim Young still waits on jobless benefits. He fits in a particularly uncomfortable niche: people who had exhausted their annual state benefits before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the nation.

Federal emergency funds were set aside to fill this gap, but Florida has yet to put in place a mechanism for Young and others to receive it.


It’s unclear how many Floridians have exhausted their 12 weeks of jobless benefits before or after stay-at-home orders spread and mass layoffs began. More than 1.4 million workers in Florida filed new unemployment claims in the weeks between March 15 and May 12, but state websites offer no statistics on average duration of unemployment now, or in recent years.

'You can’t get numbers out of the department. It is an unknown that is troubling,' said Cindy Huddleston, an attorney and senior policy director for the Florida Policy Institute, a center-left research group that advocates for more focused state spending. 'I wish I could tell you I had numbers. I am also curious.'

Huddleston called problems with the euphemistically named Reemployment Assistance program a 'poorly kept secret.'"


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